Posts Tagged ‘CUV’

Dear Kia, Please Stop Making Me Sound Biased

2017-kia-sportage-6

It seems like I leave every auto show thinking that the Koreans are killing it. For a while I thought it was just Kia and Hyundai exceeding expectations, but it’s been happening for so long that expectations are higher than ever. They just won’t quit being the underdog in my mind, and maybe that’s what they’re going for.

I sat down at Kia’s booth knowing that I didn’t give two shits about the CUV segment. I’ll never buy one and I automatically assume they’re driven by people who bought their driver’s license from a cousin who knows a guy. That didn’t stop me from smiling when the new Sportage was revealed, and spending more time than was strictly necessary inside it. Yet again, I left feeling like Kia just needs to release a RWD coupe (Kinda like the GT4 Stinger concept from a couple years ago) and they’ll be poised to have the ear of everybody under 35.

The new Sportage has a new look compared to the outgoing model but is instantly recognizable as it follows Kia’s current design language quite closely. The top trim enjoys luxurious bits like LED fog and taillights, as well as HID headlights and 19″ wheels. None of which are things you see often in the segment. The interior is packed with leather, soft-touch materials and/or piano finish bits which all give it the feeling of a more expensive vehicle.

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Kia Sorento Facelift Is More Than Skin Deep

Kia-Sorento-LA-2014-7

There’s a significant discussion going on in our forums about whether Acura is a luxury brand. Well let me drop this bomb. If Acura is a luxury brand, then so is Kia. The Sorento, Kia’s CUV, was recently refreshed for model year 2016 and revealed in Paris, but we were short-staffed and it got cut from our coverage. With no such issues at the 2014 LA Auto Show we were ready to tackle the Sorento’s North American debut, and boy am I glad we did.

For only being a facelift, the Sorento underwent quite a few significant changes. So let’s start from the bottom. The wheelbase has been extended 3.1 inches and overall track widened 0.2 inches to increase cabin space without enlarging the vehicle. The chassis has been redesigned and rebuilt to increase torsional rigidity by 14 percent. The previous 2.4L I4 and 3.3L V6 engines have been improved to 185 and 290 horsepower respectively, and a new 240 horsepower 2.4L turbo I4 has been added to the mix. All three engines send power through Kia’s 6-speed auto down to all 4 wheels through an AWD system which features 4WD locking and torque vectoring.

On the outside the refresh is highlighted by an all-new front end featuring narrower headlights as well as bigger air dams and fog light pockets. LED fog lights and rear taillights are now optional and look great. New wheel options range from 17-19″ based on trim. The longer wheelbase provides a more aggressive stance and the entire package looks sportier than the outgoing model.

The interior is where the biggest improvements are seen. There are soft touch materials throughout, optional heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, 14-way power driver and 8-way power passenger seats, driver’s seat thigh extension, a 4-way headrest with one-button adjustment, dual-zone HVAC and a panoramic sunroof. Premium Nappa leather is available on all seating surfaces and the optional stereo is a 630 watt, 12-speaker Infinity system. A lot of these options aren’t available on German cars but, here you are, getting them on a Kia. Not even the flagship, but their CUV.

It’s no secret that the Koreans are building cars head and shoulders above their products from as recently as 10 years ago. It wasn’t long ago that people were complaining of Kia and Hyundai copying existing luxury brands. These days I wish Honda and Nissan would take a page from the Koreans because they’re doing a lot of things right.

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